Pathological gambling is the inability to resist impulses to gamble, leading to severe personal or social consequences. People with pathological gambling often feel ashamed and try to avoid letting others know of their problem. The American Psychiatric Association defines pathological gambling as consisting of five or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Preoccupation with gambling (spending much of the time thinking about gambling, such as past experiences, or ways to get more money to gamble with)
  2. Needing to gamble larger amounts of money in order to feel excitement
  3. Repeated unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit gambling
  4. Restlessness or irritability when trying to cut back or quit gambling
  5. Gambling to escape problems or feelings of sadness or anxiety
  6. Chasing losses (gambling larger amounts of money to try to make back previous losses)
  7. Lying about the amount of time or money spent gambling
  8. Committing crimes to get money to gamble
  9. Loss of job, significant relationship, or educational or career opportunity due to gambling
  10. Need to borrow money for survival due to gambling losses
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